MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - There has to be an eleventh commandment. Has to be. Because in every city, the situation is virtually the same. The city car impound lot must be a very expensive cab ride away...is what it must say. The place where some cars come to die. That’s the way it is in Memphis, with vehicles brought in on tow trucks from all over the city.
It’s dangerous work, too. “It can be,” says fifteen year tow truck driver vet Steve Goodman. “If you’re doing tow-aways, or if you’re even picking up one at an apartment and the police aren’t there, it can get pretty dangerous.”
Scotty Arnold can tell you all about the danger. He was driving a tow truck last month, when one of his co-workers trucks broke down. Scotty pulled a car from the broken truck to his vehicle. There was a delay. Delays aren’t good in this business. It gave two men enough time to catch up to him. “I seen the gun,” Scotty said. “I drove off immediately. I mean, I’m not going to sit around while somebody’s hollering and cussing at me with a gun. Well, then he began firing. He shot seven times. One of them hit me in the back.”
One shot, and Scotty’s life was changed forever. He was and remains paralyzed from the neck down. Memphis City Council members talked with police about the violence against Scotty. Then late last week a repo man was shot while working. So the discussion, according to Memphis City Councilman Lee Harris, is far from over. “What it really points to,” Harris says, “is this is a really dangerous job. If there’s anything at all the city can do to try and protect these drivers, then I’m going to be looking hard to see if we can do it.”
For driver Steve Goodman, all this talk doesn’t get him very excited. He’s heard a lot of it before. All he says when told that Harris wants to try and stop the violence against tow truck driver is, ”It’d be nice.”
Harris is considering a law that would force Memphis police to at least observe some auto tows or repossessions in case any violence happens. Legally, a tow truck driver can't carry a handgun.